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Balbirnie's captain's knock steers Ireland to maiden Test win following six-wicket triumph over Afghanistan

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Abu Dhabi | March 1, 2024 7:55:41 PM IST
Skipper Andrew Balbirnie's blitzkrieg powered Ireland to a historic maiden Test victory following their six-wicket triumph over Afghanistan in the one-off Test at Tolerance Oval on Friday.

Balbirnie's 58* and Lorcan Tucker's run-a-ball 27* helped the Irish team script history as they rejoiced to celebrate their first-ever win in red-ball cricket.

Ireland's nerves started to dwindle during their chase of 111 after they were reduced to 13/3. But skipper Balbirnie imposed calmness in the Irish camp, took on the bowlers with caution and got his team over the line.

During his time on the field, Balbirnie found a fine company in Tucker who stayed along with the skipper to bring Ireland home.

Afghanistan players turned up for Day 3 action with hopes of taking control of the game after chasing Ireland's shadows for the first two days.

Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi and Rahmanullah Gurbaz began the day with Afghanistan's score reading 134/3. The duo managed to add just six runs to their 41-run partnership before Shahidi (55) got trapped in front of the stumps by Mark Adair.

Craig Young backed Adair and removed Gurbaz (46) from the other end to inflict woes on Afghanistan. With three runs added to the board Afghanistan had already lost their two set batters.

The middle-order once again struggled to put up influential partnerships which ensured Afghanistan ended their second innings with a score of 218.

Earlier in the Test Ireland dominated the opening day with a clinical bowling performance which saw Afghanistan succumb to 155. In reply, handy contributions from Curtis Campher (49), Paul Stirling (52) and Lorcan Tucker (46) helped the Irish team to put 263 runs on the board and take away a crucial 108-run lead.

For Afghanistan in the absence of star spinner Rashid Khan, left-arm spinner Zia-ur-Rehman stepped up and clinched a five-wicket haul while giving away 64 runs.

Afghanistan came out to bat and once again tottered in front of Ireland's pace duo of Mark Adair and Barry McCarthy.

Shahidi walked out to bat to pull out his team from another abysmal outing with the bat. Afghanistan had lost two wickets on 38. He played vigilantly, dealt with the situation with patience and kept the scoreboard ticking.

Along with Gurbaz, he managed to stitch up an unbeaten 41-run stand to momentarily restore the balance of the game at the end of Day 2.

Brief Score: Afghanistan 155 & 218 (Hashmatullah Shahidi 55, Rahmanullah Gurbaz 46; Barry McCarthy 3-48, Mark Adair 3-56) vs Ireland 263 & 111/4 (Andrew Balbirnie 58*, Lorcan Tucker 27*; Naveed Zadran 2-31). (ANI)

 
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